Foot Locker Boys XC — Methner Bounces Back

Josh Methner (71) added a Foot Locker win to his NXN runner-up finish. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, December 14—A week after having Californian Nico Young pull away from him to win the NXN title, Josh Methner (Hersey, Arlington Heights, Illinois) was determined to rebound to deliver his own commanding performance at Foot Locker.

It came more easily than expected, as he achieved his primary goal by easing away comfortably midway into the second mile en route to a smooth victory in 15:08.8. Carter Solomon (Plymouth, Michigan), who went unbeaten during the high school season, finished 8 seconds behind. Methner’s key break came along the gradual decline while retracing the finish area to compete the first of the two loops. His lead quickly mushroomed and was never threatened thereafter, often further extended on each successive downhill slope.

“Part of the plan was to feel good on the uphills, but really make those moves on the downhills,” said Methner, who had drawn national attention in November by breaking Craig Virgin’s 47-year-old Detweiler Park course record. That’s the Illinois State Meet layout that has hosted some of the biggest names in the sport (Lukas Verzbicas, Chris Derrick, Evan Jager, et al.) over the years.

“Monday and Tuesday [after NXN], I wasn’t feeling my best,” admitted Methner, who lost to the unbeaten Young by 14 seconds. “I think that race took it out of me more than I thought it would.” But the Notre Dame signee was in complete control in Southern California as the rest of the field was in full reactionary mode, letting Methner dictate the action from start to finish. “I was surprised,” he said about being unchallenged down the stretch, “but I’m kind of grateful that there wasn’t [any more with him]. A lot less pressure going into the finish.”

His 2nd/1st placings at the two “national championships” matched the showings by both Futsum Zeinasellassie (’11) and Chris Derrick (’07) for second-best during the NXN/Foot Locker era. Only Verzbicas (’10) has been able to snag both titles in the same year.


FOOT LOCKER BOYS RESULTS

Teams

1. Northeast 43; 2. Midwest 43; 3. South 59; 4. West 79.

Individuals (5000m)

1. Josh Methner (Midwest) 15:08.8; 2. Carter Solomon (Midwest) 15:16.9; 3. Patrick Anderson (Northeast) 15:18.0; 4. Graydon Morris (South) 15:18.1; 5. Judson Greer (South) 15:22.2; 6. Evan Bishop (Midwest) 15:23.7; 7. Daniel O’Brien (South) 15:24.1; 8. Kevin Antczak (Northeast) 15:25.0; 9. Jack Jennings (Northeast) 15:29.4; 10. Colton Sands (Northeast) 15:30.0;

11. Ahmed Ibrahim (West) 15:33.0; 12. Thomas Boyden (West) 15:34.9; 13. Matthew Farrell (Northeast) 15:36.1; 14. Gavin Sherry (Northeast) 15:36.8; 15. Parker Wolfe (Midwest) 15:37.3; 16. Dalton Mortensen (West) 15:40.8; 17. John Higinbotham (South) 15:41.9; 18. Creed Thompson (West) 15:42.1; 19. Jack Spamer (Midwest) 15:42.6; 20. Brendan Favazza (Midwest) 15:44.7;

21. Aidan Puffer (Northeast) 15:45.4; 22. Colin Peattie (West) 15:49.1; 23. Davin Thompson (West) 15:49.8; 24. Bob Liking (Midwest) 15:52.6; 25. Liam Murphy (Northeast) 15:53.6; 26. Zachary Stewart (Midwest) 15:55.2; 27. Mateo Althouse (West) 15:58.6; 28. Nathan Walker (Midwest) 15:59.6; 29. Ethan Strand (South) 16:07.9; 30. Nolan Topper (West) 16:09.5;

31. Robert DiDonato (Northeast) 16:12.1; 32. Michael Hancock (Midwest) 16:13.0; 33. Canaan Anderson (South) 16:13.2; 34. Ignatius Fitzgerald (West) 16:13.4; 35. Charlie Robertson (West) 16:15.9; 36. Mike Griffin (Northeast) 16:19.9; 37. Justin Wachtel (South) 16:25.9; 38. Avery Cannon (South) 16:30.3; 39. Silas Winders (South) 16:36.0; 40. Coen Roberts (South) 16:47.7. ◻︎